If you had the chance to ask Diddy any question, what would it be?
To be honest, we used to think Diddy was a kook. He seemed so wacky, so flashy, and so demanding on Making the Band. Then we heard him speak at this past weekend's Revolt Music Conference, and we realized this guy is where he is today because he is honest, focused, and real.
The man born Sean Combs dropped knowledge during the #AskDiddy Q&A panel. And we've collected his best quotes, from passing out mixtapes to beefs with Suge Knight.
Courtesy of Revolt Music Conference
On Turning Dreams Into Reality
"You can't be afraid to close our eyes and dream something that's so crazy it's not of this planet... But then you wake up, you have to face the reality of what it's going to take to achieve that dream. Especially if you're a person of color. It's going to be four, five times as hard for you to get on.
"Nobody is going to give you nothing out here. You're going to have to literally go and take it, in a positive way: by earning it, working hard every day, and doing the things no one else is going to do -- including getting cheese cake."
On the Hardest Business Decision He's Ever Made
"Looking in the mirror at myself. When you get a lot of success, it definitely turns you into an asshole, or it magnifies who you are, so you'd had to have been an asshole before.
You have to look from within... You have to start making some choices that's best for the business. Right now we have over 3,000 people that work for Combs Enterprises. I can't make personal decisions like "My boy is on -- I have to keep my boy on." I'm making decisions for everybody.
"The hardest thing is change, and that personal change is one of the hardest business decisions I had to make. It wasn't about money. It was about what effect I was going to have, who I was going to decide to be, and what my purpose was going to be as a businessman."
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Photo courtesy Revolt Music Conference
On Old Beef With Suge Knight
"I never told nobody, because I came as an executive, but you can see from all the videos I was in I always wanted to be a star. So Suge was definitely right. If you didn't wanna be on a label where the executive producer is in the video, you shouldn't have signed to Bad Boy. But check this out. Karma's a motherfucker, remember that. It's a very important lesson."
On Realizing He'd "Made It"
"I'm at a Run/D.M.C. concert... I said to myself, 'One day, Imma be up there.' We put out Puff Daddy & the Family, the whole situation happened with B.I.G. We realized we needed to tap into having a legacy of Bad Boy go on. I sold out the Garden two nights, and I used to come out the ceiling. I would be up in the ceiling when everybody would be at their seats. I had this profound moment when I saw the seat I was sitting in and I said that that dream would come true. As I came down, I kept looking at that seat as I was doing 'Victory,' and I knew I had made it."
On Trendy Artists
"I don't like artists out there not saying something. I don't like the dumbed-down music that's got the repetitive chorus. That's going to be here today, gone tomorrow... They're going to be on their way to something that's not pretty, because they ego going to be involved. They're not going to be ready to get a real job because they're going to be like, 'I was just on MTV. I was just selling out arenas.' It comes too quick right now. Revolt is that platform to put artists on and also, at the same time, magnify the artists that put in the grind. We don't just jump on the trends. We jump on the artists that really have something to say and are going to be out there for the long run."
On Heroes Being Human
"You have to just keep grinding and keep working hard. Know that even the people you look up to, we're walking around our rooms confused. We're in the bathroom crying sometimes. We feel the pain... While you have the chance on the come-up to be young and fresh and do your thing, I would say, be free. Understand that what don't kill you is going to make you stronger. Those problems are small problems in the world. I always remind myself that, right now in Africa, people don't have water to drink. I could be up here complaining about what's going on, there's somebody now that don't have water to drink. That helps put it in perspective for me."
On Branding Yourself
"Every second, you have a chance to build your brand. Every second, you are a representation of your brand: the way you address somebody, the way you introduce yourself, what you wear... You have to be diverse, and the most important is you have to know you're representing not just yourself, your family name... I know I'm the best representation of my brand, because the thing that keeps you in this game, that takes you out of this game, is really your reputation.
"You have this top layer of bullshit, of hate, people that are too weak to be on the playing field... If you want to be in this industry, you have to have tough skin... If I give this person a task, if I do a deal with somebody, if you say you're going to be there, you've got to be there on time, do the right thing, and you've got to deliver."
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Photo by Eitan Miskevich
On Waking Up Early
"All the real money is made before 10 a.m. I done took all the money off the table by the time some of you wake up... The ones that getting the money is me, the rooster, and some people from Asia, India. All the money is gone. Wake up early, get busy, have fun with it, represent yourself, build your brand."
On His Secret to Success
"Surrounding myself with people that are smarter than me. I had to get to the point where I just had people working for me that were way smarter than me, and then number two was the follow-through. There's so many talkers in the world... I just wanted to be known for my team being people that actually execute it... Stop talking, put some tape on your mouth, and go out there and do that shit.
On the Power of You
"I still think you've got to wake up early, but you can get it poppin' from wherever you're at... If you're really doing your thing, the biggest brands are going to hear about you, because we want the authenticity... We want the person that is professional, that can be dependable, if they say they are going to do it, they gon' get it done. You build that reputation, even in your four-block radius, people gon' know about you. They're gonna hear your name, and it's up to you if they're going to remember your name."
On Making Time for Stillness, Family, and Yourself
"Sometimes, you think that the whole world is going to be messed up because you weren't there on your phone or your weren't on your computer. Somebody told me this year... "It's 1 o'clock, and it's your funeral... Your friends came out, everybody is out. It's crazy. What do you think the question is going to be that your friends are asking? 'What's for lunch?'" Life is going to go on. Things are going to be all right if you disconnect. It's investing in yourself, your well-being. I think my mother would tell me, 'Yeah, they gonna be asking what's for lunch. Turn them phones off and spend some time with me.'"
On Passing Out Mixtapes
"You have to be very tactful and very surgical about when your moment is... Don't run up [on someone] if they're working or eating. You've got to make sure your breath is fresh. Don't smoke a blunt before... Don't be a stalker, but there's a time when you can catch somebody. I love when people are polite, "I know you're busy. Will you take this and maybe listen to it?" That doesn't mean it's going to get done. You've got to be relentless, but I think we're all looking for the next star... It's up to you to make sure that you're dope, that you're patient, and that your time is right... Be aggressive without being disrespectful."
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